Interview with one of the three owners of The Life Goddess, Mr. Nikos Nyfoudis.
Zorba the Greek and My Big Fat Greek Wedding are probably what springs to mind when thinking of a typical Greek restaurant in a foreign country; temple-like columns, the Acropolis and perhaps a folklore photo of an Evzone decorating the place, where Greek salad and mousaka is a must. It doesn’t really matter if you want to present your national cuisine in such a way, what does matter though is if you only follow this way to do so. Gastronomy is no longer a mere eating out habit; it’s a sensuous journey to new culinary experiences.
On January 2013, the Nyfoudis brothers and Ilias Koulakiotis opened their first restaurant on Street Store near the British Museum. People embraced their idea that led to a second restaurant on Carnaby Street.
The Life Goddess is a multifunctional place of flavours. You can see shelves with products from small Greek producers and cottage industries while cooks serve dishes using those products. Beans, sausages from Kozani, pan-fried pork with leeks, sweet preserves and many more is just a foretaste of what you can try. In many cases, regular customers come back to ask for the recipe of their favourite dish, buy the ingredients they need and cook it at home.
Ideas like these are worth presenting as they promote Greek cuisine and support small producers of quality and in many cases unique products. Not to mention that customers learn a little something about cooking and gastronomy.
What is The Life Goddess (TLG)? A grocery store, a restaurant or a mixture of both?
The Life Goddess is a traditional Greek grocery store that has something for everyone. You can do some shopping, have a meal, learn new recipes and of course catch up on the latest news of the neighbourhood. It’s an earnest endeavour to gather products and raw materials from all over Greece and introduce them to Londoners.
How easy it is to sell feta cheese, Cretan dackos or giant beans in London?
Cretan dackos sell like hotcakes and you also enjoy it because it’s something new as well as delicious. Feta cheese is also easy to sell though giant beans take some time and effort. However, as soon as customers have them for breakfast, instead of their own beans, they love them!
What are your customers’ comments on Greek products and our gastronomy in general?
The English love Greece. Unfortunately, Greek products and Greek food hasn’t been seriously taken for many decades. It’s been three years since the image for our country has started to change for the first time. We make every effort to persuade people that gastronomy is the religion of the 21st century. So, if we want to boost our tourism, we need to keep that in mind!
Many producers of vegetables and aromatic plants read our magazine. From your own experience, what do they need to pay attention to so that they can export in a market such as this one in England?
Packaging and differentiating the product. There should be a story accompanying the product. There is a huge range of plants out there, but a unique story makes the difference...
What are your future plans?
We've been through a lot for the last three years. We were fortunate to open both stores in a difficult and challenging time though. The English pound rose sharply and inflow of capital in Great Britain has limited all developing opportunities for small businesses on the one hand, while it has favoured chain stores on the other. I believe that we are gradually standing on our feet and we can talk about the next step that will make an impression. We are thinking of the biggest grocery store outside Greece. The GR(EAT) Life Goddess. It’s just a matter of figuring out the location...
We would like to thank Mr. Nikos Nyfoudis for the interview and we wish all the best for him and his team in Life Goddess.
Address: 29 Store St., London, UK
Tel. Number: +44 20 7637 2401
Open: 9.30 – 23.00
Address: 1st floor, Kingly Court, Carnaby St., London, UK
Tel. Number: +44 20 7287 3370
Open: 9.30 – 23.00